Los Angeles / Regional Theater Preview: AN EVENING OF CLASSIC LILY TOMLIN (Segerstrom Hall)

Post image for Los Angeles / Regional Theater Preview: AN EVENING OF CLASSIC LILY TOMLIN (Segerstrom Hall)

by Tony Frankel on June 21, 2013

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional

PARADISE LILY

My fanaticism with Lily Tomlin started with her 1972 comedy album This is a Recording. I immediately felt a kinship with Ernestine Tomlin, Ma Bell’s switchboard operator and favorite enforcer. She was meddlesome, forceful and Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema preview of AN EVENING OF CLASSIC LILY TOMLIN at Segerstrom Hall.sarcastic, and I always looked to her as a beacon of sanity in an incompetent world. Strangely enough, my family did not find me as appealingly caustic as the snorting advice-giver who I listened to day in and day out at the age of 11. Exiting the room with quotes from the album – “This circuit is overloaded” or “This broad’s felt no pain in years” – only got me in trouble. Yet my ear remained pasted to the speaker of our old Magnavox console because I imagined myself having the power to take on J. Edgar Hoover, Joan Crawford, Martha Mitchell, and Gore Vidal (although I had no idea who this “Mr. Veedle” was). Her persona was so real that I even developed a crush on Vito, the telephone repairman who we never see.

But that’s the glory of Lily Tomlin, who is appearing for one night only at Segerstrom Hall this Saturday, June 22. Tomlin, who is currently starring on TV’s Malibu Country with Reba McEntire, will share her celebrated talent for combining insightful and funny stand-up along with excerpts that feature some of her beloved classic characters. These characters that would normally give us pause and perhaps even infuriate us in real life include a bag lady, a precocious child, and that righteous Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema preview of AN EVENING OF CLASSIC LILY TOMLIN at Segerstrom Hall.operator. They can be bratty, indignant, moralizing advisors, but they have one thing in common. Whether it’s Edith Ann, that lisping child who bestows cracked but perceptive musings from a rocking chair, or Judith Beasley, the Calumet housewife who dispenses consumer tips, Tomlin’s creations are undeniably sane.

Part of the magic comes from Tomlin’s writing and life partner, Jane Wagner, who comes up with galactic one-liners that live on forever, especially those from the solo play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (1986), for which Tomlin won a Tony Award. “I personally think we developed language because of our deep need to complain.” “I worry if peanut oil comes from peanuts and olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?” “Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.” I have a hunch that An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin will be a collective hoot. But don’t be surprised if I exit the theater and say, as I would to my family, “We are all in this together, by ourselves.”

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema preview of AN EVENING OF CLASSIC LILY TOMLIN at Segerstrom Hall.poster photo by Greg Gorman

An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin
Segerstrom Hall
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
in Costa Mesa
Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm
for tickets, call (714) 556-2787
or visit http://www.SCFTA.org

Comments on this entry are closed.